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Premier League Preview: Chelsea - Crystal Palace

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Premier League Preview: Chelsea - Crystal Palace
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Premier League Preview: Chelsea - Crystal Palace
Chelsea will be looking to bring resurgent Crystal Palace back down to earth in Saturday’s London derby at Stamford Bridge.

Tony Pulis has galvanized Palace by masterminding victories over West Ham and Cardiff City to raise hopes the club can avoid relegation. Meanwhile, Chelsea beat Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday night to seal the top spot in Champions League Group E and now turns its attention to the Premier League.

Jose Mourinho's side suffered a surprise 3-2 defeat at Stoke City last weekend, missing an opportunity to move into second place and cut the gap behind leader Arsenal to only two points.

The former Real Madrid boss said it was mission accomplished in Europe after the victory over Steaua and reiterated that his first objective in the Premier League is to secure a Champions League spot.

He said: "The only target was to not win the Europa League again and that target is done. Now we have to do the best we can in the Champions League. In the Premier League, I think the first target is to ensure we finish in the top four."

Chelsea has dropped only two points at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League this season and will be confident of securing its seventh home win when it faces Palace.

The two sides have not played each other since March 2005, when Frank Lampard was among the goalscorers in a 4-1 victory for Chelsea. Palace was hammered 6-2 in the previous London derby clash at Stamford Bridge five years earlier.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech will return to Chelsea's starting lineup after Mark Schwarzer was handed his Champions League debut midweek. Ramires, Andre Schurrle, Juan Mata, Gary Cahill and Fernando Torres will also be hoping for a recall, with midfielder Marco Van Ginkel (knee) Chelsea's only absentee.

Palace could find itself out of the relegation zone by securing a point against the Europa League champions after its recent revival. None of the teams in the bottom six has more than Palace's four wins, but the club must improve its away record, having lost six of the seven road games.

Left back Dean Moxey will undergo a fitness test after sustaining a hamstring injury against Cardiff, though Jerome Thomas (groin), Jack Hunt (ankle), Adlene Guedioura (ribs) and Glenn Murray (knee) are sidelined and Paddy McCarthy (groin) is not expected to make his long-awaited comeback.

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